Gordon Wittenmeyer wrote an article today that suggests the Cubs have at least 7 candidates for the Cubs managing job. There really is no information on who that may be and maybe that's a good thing. After watching Manny Acta and A.J. Hinch get skewered by some in the media, maybe the Cubs are better off silencing the background noise on this.
Other than Acta and Hinch, the confirmed candidates are Rick Renteria, Dave Martinez, and Torey Lovullo
As for the mystery candidates, we can only speculate, but Wittenmeyer does say who it won't be...
The only thing certain about the identities of the two mystery candidates is they’re not Jim Leyland, Don Mattingly, Cardinals third-base coach Jose Oquendo, Indians first-base coach Sandy Alomar, Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux or any in-house coaches from Dale Sveum’s staff.
UPDATE: Patrick Mooney of CSN crosses a few names more names off the list. They are as follows... (Ones not already mentioned in bold)
- Three candidates who interviewed two years ago are not in play this time: Blue Jays bench coach DeMarlo Hale; Texas Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux; and Cleveland Indians first-base coach Sandy Alomar Jr.
- You can cross off five more names talked about in industry circles: Red Sox special assistant Jason Varitek; Yankees bench coach Tony Pena; Cardinals third-base coach Jose Oquendo; Rangers hitting coach Dave Magadan; and Oakland A’s bench coach Chip Hale.
No surprises there, though I would also add Dusty Baker to that "no" list. Ozzie Guillen has been mentioned locally but that also seems extremely unlikely. One thing we can say about Guillen is that he's a player's manager and can communicate with young Latin American players. He'll definitely deflect attention and take pressure off the kids, but I just can't imagine that the Cubs front office has him in mind.
As to who it might actually be, we can only speculate. I mentioned a while back that Tony Pena would be an interesting candidate but haven't found anything to suggest that he is. We've also brought up names like Boston 3B coach Brian Butterfield, former Pirates manager John Russell, and Athletics coach Chip Hale, but was not able to confirm any of those names either.
So who else is out there?
I can also dig up my old list from when they hired Dale Sveum two years ago. After all, I had Rick Renteria back then and forgot to add him for this year's list -- and he is now officially a candidate. Tim Bogar is another one. He is analytics friendly, has worked for the Red Sox and under Joe Maddon. Here's what I said about him back then,
Bogar is, of course, connected with Epstein and is considered one of the top up and coming managerial candidates in the game right now. As a minor league manager with the Indians organization, he came within one game of winning a title and was named Eastern League Manager of the Year in 2006. He was also selected to manage the U.S. in the Futures All-Star Game in 2006 and 2007. Additionally, Baseball America called him the best managerial candidate in Eastern League in 2006. Because of his connections with both the Indians and Red Sox, he may be considered to take over for Terry Francona.
A guy who worked under both of Theo Epstein's final two candidates for his original job. I have to think his name was brought up at some point.
There's also DeMarlo Hale, who interviewed for the Nationals job. Hale makes sense for a lot of reasons. He had a lot of success as a minor league manager and coach with the Red Sox, so the Cubs front office is very familiar with him. He's also a native Chicagoan, so he understands the culture here. Here's what I wrote about Hale,
Hale was Francona's right hand man in Boston as their bench coach. Like Bogar, he is familiar with Epstein and the Red Sox philosophy. As a bonus, he also has some local connections as he is from Chicago and attended Chicago Vocational High Schoool. On the field, Hale has been a coach for the past 10 years with the Rangers and Red Sox, two of the game's top organizations. Before that he managed in Boston's system where his resume may be more impressive than Sandberg's. While he had many winning seasons, Hale's best year may have been when he guided Trenton to a best-league 92-50 record in 1999. That season he also coached the U.S.team in the All-Star Futures game. He was honored as Minor League Manager of the Year by Baseball America, the Sporting News and USA Today Weekly.
For what it's worth, the Nationals have also interviewed Matt Williams, Randy Knorr, and Brad Ausmus. Ausmus has drawn some support locally in Chicago and is said to be an excellent baseball mind and a player first type. Peter Gammons was the first to bring him up and we talked about him then.
We've heard about Alex Cora, but what about Joey Cora? He's bilingual, he's known as a good communicator, he's familiar with Chicago (including a stint as coach of the Cubs). He's been on Ozzie Guillen's staff so we know he can handle all kinds of personalities and drama. He's worked with the Marlins, so we know he's worked with young players. He's intelligent and more of a tough love guy than a nice guy, which some fans here in Chicago would like. And of all the managers who'd bring in Alex as a coach (something Bruce Levine said the Cubs would highly recommend), you'd think Joey would be a slam dunk to add him to his staff.
I don't want to rule out Tony Pena. I was told he is a good motivator and works well with young players. He's also bilingual, comes from a winning organization that has become increasingly stat friendly. He has experience as a manager, including a successful year with Kansas City, and has worked in a big market in New York. A lot of things fit here.
Another interesting name is Jason Varitek (h/t Bryan/Michael) I don't know if he's a candidate or not but he's an intelligent baseball guy and a strong leader who is well respected by the front office.
Can't get a confirmation on Pena or anyone on this list for that matter, but hey -- this is a mystery list after all, right?
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